Posts Tagged ‘Timescape’

Xperia X8 – Unboxing and First Impressions

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Sony Ericsson

I have been trying out the new Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 for a couple days now, and thought I’d share my first impressions and some un-boxing photos. The X8 is larger than the Xperia X10 mini and mini pro, but much smaller than the full-size Xperia X10. While it has some features in common with the minis, it is a unique device.

Here are the specs:

  • Android 1.6 (with additional UI features)
  • 3″ Capacative Touch Screen
  • 128MB onboard memory
  • MicroSD support, up to 16GB
  • 3.2MP Camera
  • Bluetooth with A2DP Stereo
  • Megabase
  • TrackID Music Recognition
  • FM Radio with RDS (requires headphones for antenna)
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Micro USB
  • Wi-Fi support
  • aGPS
  • Exchange ActiveSync
  • Sony Ericsson Timescape
  • Infinite Button
  • Sony Ericsson Music Player
  • Media Player

This phone was designed to be affordable, but as you can see it packs a lot of features. It has the same 4-corner shortcut layout as the X10 mini and mini pro, which makes one-handed operation easier. It shares the wider, more stylish USB cover featured on the full-size X10, which adds to the sleek look of the phone. I found it is a little stiff and harder to open than on my X10, but it is likely that will ease with use.

Check out photos from the un-boxing below.

Comparing it to the X10 mini, it is actually quite similar. The screen is larger, 3″ instead of the 2.6″ on the mini. The X10 mini also features a camera light, while the X8 doesn’t. Both feature Timescape, which is now my favorite way to use Facebook. I really like the deck of cards display for Facebook updates.

The speaker quality on the music player is really good. It almost seems stronger than the X10. I am going to do some side-by-side testing to see how well they track for my full review. As with the X10 mini, I am mis-typing a lot. This is why I preferred the X10 mini pro with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard over the regular X10 mini. It gets better in landscape mode, but is still usable in portrait. I just have to take my time.

So far the phone is testing really well. I am happy overall. My wife thinks my X10 is way too big, and confirmed that this phone feels more natural in her hand. She pointed out that the slick back is a little hard to hold on to, being used to the rubberized back on the HTC Aria and on the case she added to the Aria. She also said that if she had to choose between the Aria and the Xperia X8, Sony Ericsson would win hands-down.

I am going to keep testing the Xperia X8. I’ll be posting a full review soon. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the device.

Xperia X10 Mini – First Impressions

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I just received a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini to review. While a full review is on its way, here are my first impressions.

Since the device is not yet available in the US, the contents of the box are subject to change. In the review unit box, there was a wired ear bud headphone/hands-free device with a 3.5mm jack, not the proprietary Sony Ericsson connector. There was a mini USB cable for charging and data transfer, as well as a wall adapter with a USB input. Several alternative case backings were included, showing the various ways you can skin the phone. I am assuming this is for evaluation purposes though, and won’t be in the final box. I’ll look into it and report back. There is an instruction book included, but there is also a tutorial on the phone itself.

My first impression upon taking it out of the box was that this is a really small phone. I thought the HTC Aria was small, but as you can see in the pictures below, the Aria towers above the X10 mini.

In the above images, the Xperia X10 mini is shown side by side with an HTC Aria and an iPhone 3G. The iPhone is clearly the largest, while the X10 mini is the smallest. The X10 mini is notably thicker than both the iPhone and Aria though.

Even though it is really small, I found it still felt like a good fit when I put it up to my ear as if I were making a call. The phone is designed to be used with one hand, with customizable shortcuts in each of the four corners. I found these to be pretty useful.

The main problem I’ve had so far involves inputting text. I am still tinkering with the settings, but the text input takes some getting used to. You type the letter, then choose either the first or second letter on that key, or choose the down arrow for additional choices. The drop-down menu also includes the option to type outright. I tend to default to this method for speed.

The Xperia X10 mini features Sony Ericsson’s Timescape application, a unique UI that shows your Twitter and Facebook accounts in a fun way. I was impressed with the videos of the feature, and found that it is every bit as cool in real life. In function it reminds me of the Xbox 360 version of Facebook, which I prefer over the real thing. Sony Ericsson takes the concept much further than the Xbox though, and adds quite a bit of style. I am looking forward to playing with this feature a bit more.

There has been a lot of negative talk about the Xperia X10s using Android 1.6 instead of 2.1 or even Froyo. Based on my early research and viewing the various videos available, I wasn’t too concerned. Sony Ericsson’s UI was able to mask some of the potential shortcomings. In practice, I think my initial findings proved to be true. While I noticed there were some apps missing in the Android Market, there wasn’t a terrible difference in functionality between the HTC Aria running Android 2.1 and the Xperia X10 mini running Android 1.6. When the 2.1 update comes around later this year, the Sony will likely surpass the Aria.

Overall, my first impressions of the Xperia X10 mini are very positive. Some of the problems I’ve had are simply due to being used to other UIs like Sense or Motoblur. Once I get used to Sony’s UI I expect to be able to maneuver easily through the apps. I will be covering this phone in more detail soon, as well as the Xperia X10 mini pro. I am going to spend some time getting to know the device in the mean time. I am pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far though. I am looking forward to learning more.